BAGUIO CITY – After acknowledging the present Philippine Military Academy (PMA) personalities during the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Homecoming on Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte opened his address by stating that he is honored being an adopted member of PMA Dimasupil Class 1967.
The president said being adopted by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Inc (PMAAAI) as an honorary member is a “double honor” citing his long and harmonious relationships with PMA alumni.
Duterte said he was uncomfortable in the many awards and recognition he gets explaining that the work he does as a government employee and public servant is “a work in the service of the people”.
Duterte continued to say that the training undertaken by the cadets at the PMA and becoming a soldier is a choice live in a military principle which was molded by one’s love of country with a passion for the poor and the needy, with pride in being a Filipino.
Duterte said the fight against illegal drugs was successful since it was started with the coordination of the men and women of the PMA.
The fight against the Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was equally successful with severe casualties from both groups, again through the military.
Duterte said a directive was issued to the PNP and the AFP to strengthen its capabilities, to use all its assets and resources, to be able to neutralize these groups and which is “the only way to secure Mindanao”.
Duterte’s vision for the nation is for a better life on the “land of promise” which now threatened by climate change and man-made diseases.
The strength of the nation is threatened by the widening gap between the rich and the poor – corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.
The government should now truly deliver good and services to really serve the people and not just the interest of the few, Duterte said.
The president recalled his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he said he promised the people with a comfortable life.
However, Duterte admitted he needs the help and support of the people and the military, “not for social control” but to protect the citizens from the lawless, the reckless and the selfish.
Duterte said righteousness and discipline were the foundation of a nation.
This is what he desires for the Philippines to have a prosperous society that includes everyone – peaceful, law abiding citizens and people of different beliefs should get along with one another.
Duterte said he appreciates the PMA which bears the template of discipline and civility.
The PMA tradition must continue, Dutertes said as he acknowledged the invitation extended to him to be a part of the PMA.
“Let us together build a nation worthy of the Filipinos, Filipinos worthy of a nation” which he translated in Filipino as Pilipinong nararapat sa Pilipinas, Pilipinas na nararapat sa Pilipino and his native tongue.
President Duterte addressed more than 6,000 individuals which included the more than 2,000 alumni, their family members and friends.
The PMA Alumni Homecoming is President Duterte’s first visit to the premiere military school in Asia after his election to the presidency in May 2016.
Duterte was the second president of the Philippines to grace the homecoming after then President Gloria Arroyo in 2004. Jojo Lamaria/PNA-northboundasia.com